Series: The First Earth 1
My version: Hardback
Science Fiction/Fantasy The future, the past
Supplied by author’s people
In a future dominated by the church and defended by the sword, one piece of forbidden technology may change all the rules.
Adrian od Tarsus is a veteran Knight Hospitaler. His adopted daughter, Mariel, serves as his squire, and together they travel the galaxy aboard the ancient merchant ship Miranda. Adrian uses his position as a Church enforcer to provide cover for his real quest: a cure for Miranda’s mysterious and painful illness, which worsens every day.
Trouble is, Adrian’s certain the cure requires Machina Infernus, heretical technology forbidden by the Church, and not even a Knight can hide from the Holy Office of the Universal Inquisition.
When the Miranda’s crew are ambushed while acquiring such an object, Adrian turns to Sabine Adler, an old flame and specialist in Machina, for help.
But once on the planet Bethany, Sabine’s home and the seat of Christendom, assassins come out of the woodwork and everyone seems to want Adrian’s relic – mercenaries, cultists, thugs, politicians, even the Inquisition. Most troubling of all are a pair of unusual nuns who claim to know the location of the lab where the relic originated, and the fact that one of them bears a striking resemblance to Mariel.
Adrian has survived galactic crusades, skilled assassins, and Church politics, but these women may be the death of him.
It’s been quite a while since I read either a science fiction book, or a fantasy book. Probably never the two combined. Though, as science fiction imagines events that didn’t happen, they probably are fantasy as a matter of course. Anyway, the previous fantasy books I’m thinking of, were The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, and/or the Mythago Wood series, by him there. In recent years, that is to say as long as I can really remember now, I’ve read Fiction, based either in the now, or in the then. So…when one of D.’s (we close friends get to call him ‘D’) people contacted me and suggested this might be right up my street, and when I had a glance at the cover, I was thinking maybe, maybe not. Knights – that a maybe. Knights standing in front of modern/futuristic skyscrapers – that’s surely a maybe not.
The Speesh Reads Psychologist says: I deliberately didn’t read the back page blurb (which I’ve copied above) as I wanted to come to this fresh, without any preconceptions or ideas of how it should be. That way, I find, you can get a true picture of the reading experience a book gives.
And in the start, I was thinking I was, maybe, right. It’s an odd mixture for sure, and one that takes a few chapters to get your head round it. Then there’s ok, I’m on board now, I think I’ve got the background in place, and the reasoning is now rock solid. Then there’s the “jeez! This is good. This is great!” All the not being able to put it down sort of stuff and everything. There’s not too much of the setting the scene, you are thrown in at the deep end – thought it maybe that if you are a reader of this sort of book already, it’s a little easier to adapt than I found it to be. However, I found I was absolutely fine with that, I liked the feeling of continually having the carpet swept from under me, trying to find my footing, story wise. My brain trying to make sense of what was going on here. That it was a challenge for someone like me, I found absolutely wonderful. I had to concentrate I had to read carefully. Exactly as it should be. What helps in these sort of situations of course, is good writing. And this has it. There’s a flow, and an assumption that you’ll be ok with it that comes through. The characters, and there are quite a few, are very well-drawn, sympathetic, not, and ‘hmmm… can we trust them?’ in between. Before I knew where I was, I was deep in space at these people’s sides, and caring if they did what they needed to do or not. The last page, the last sentences and I’m “where the heck can I get hold of the next one?!” I need to know!
Once you get your head round where we are, what’s going on, it really does come into its own. I thoroughly enjoyed it, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.